Formal complaint cancels Physique Contest

Megan Schendel

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    MHS hosts a range of activities and events in an attempt to cater to the interests of its large student body. This year, one of the many events that MHS was planning on hosting was a physique contest. Coordinated by Senior Ashley Davison and Assistant Athletic Director and weight training instructor James Millwood, the event was scheduled to take place on May 2 in the MHS Gymnasium and would’ve been similar to smaller ones that the weight training class has hosted, as well as a physique contest that was held at a school assembly two years ago. However, due to the controversy that surrounded the school exhibitions, in addition to possible complaints about the sexual components of the competition, they were forced to cancel this year’s physique contest.

    “This is a multiperspective kind of situation. There are students that wanted to put on an event that called for exhibiting the progress they’ve made at getting fit and building muscles, and others saw that as being too much as a public display of their bodies,” said Principal Fred Murphy.

The physique contest was typically held within the school’s weight training class and not at a schoolwide event. “This was a class activity previously. The students in our weight training class would do a small exhibition after school and it was a small event and it wasn’t really on the radar of a lot of people previously,” said Murphy.

    The physique contest was composed of two sections that were judged in order to select the winner. “In the first portion of it they would line up and Coach Millwood would call a specific muscle and that is the muscle that they would flex and we’d have judges that would score them based upon it. After a series of muscles was called, they would have their own individual, solo routine that they had chosen. They chose the song and everything that they wanted— they had to get it approved by us to make sure it was clean. It was usually anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute and they perform that. At the end, the judges have a scoring sheet and they would go through it and decide who had the most points and that would be the winner,” said Davison. Millwood added, “We open it up to all students, not just weight training students, and it’s just something that we started off about four years ago.”

   This year, audience attendance was completely optional, with the event set up to host no more than a hundred audience members. “It was after school in the gymnasium and so whoever wanted to come, it was pretty much voluntary,” said Millwood. “In the gym, maybe a hundred or so would come, mainly friends coming out to support.”

    There was controversy enveloping the event, especially that held at the school assembly. “There were different reactions [to the competition]. Some thought it was cool and others not so much,” said Davison. They were forced to cancel the competition that had been scheduled for this year after a formal complaint, possibly concerning sexual exploitation, was issued to the school. “The school was called from the district office and someone made a complaint about the competition,” said Millwood. “I think it was just someone who was concerned.”

    Davison and Millwood hope that MHS will be able to resume hosting the physique contest sometime in the future.

Click links for more:

Physique Contest: Harmless Fun or Dangerously Inappropriate? (Editorial)

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Formal complaint cancels Physique Contest